Johannesburg’s Keyes Art Mile has become a “must do” destination for tourists looking to satisfy their cultural thirst for South African top notch art, design and food.
Travellers can enjoy sundowners with stunning views, the 'best burger' in town, a sublime fine dining experience, a showcase of contemporary African art and furniture by leading international industrial designers, the most enviable sneakers collection and a select crop of street front stores that boast local ingenuity at its most authentic. There is a co-working space at the Mesh Club, whose designer interiors would make any reluctant entrepreneur enthusiastic about putting in the extra hours.
Every visit offers a surprise of new tastes and visual experiences, keeping the regulars inspired and the first-timers in awe. While the music on First Thursday’s spills out onto the newly cobbled avenue lined by vendors of the artful food and fun-filled drinks variety, new exhibitions opening at steadfast intervals create a different experience altogether.
Two worthy additions to the TRUMPET on Keyes Art Mile – which looks across towards the hundred-year old Everard Reed Gallery and gently touches sides with the beautiful CIRCA gallery – are Okapi and The Butchery by Marble.
This is Okapi’s first flagship store. The sophisticated modern interior reflects the refined craftsmanship found in every limited edition Okapipiece – luxurious, artisanal handbags and accessories designed to grow with the owner over time – and the Keyes Art Mile store offers clients the opportunity to personalise their bags.
With a keen focus on skills development and employment, all materials and manufacturing is finished entirely in South Africa – so every piece creates positive change by developing sustainable jobs on the continent.
The Butchery by Marble offers patrons the opportunity to sit down and have a bite to eat or glass of wine in the most exquisite setting.
Think Italian-style sandwiches of cured meats, a chic lunch of charcuterie and fromagerie or dark salami with pinotage and fennel, together with heavenly-hot bread from the oven upstairs, a frequently changing wine list and the finest biscotti to accompany a coffee.
That said, locals pop in to buy their meat for a traditional South African braai.
Keyes Art Mile will also add a touch of glamour to year-end-new-beginnings celebratory bubbles with a pop-up champagne bar called Upstairs at Mesh. It will run from November 2017 to the end of February 2018.
Keyes Art Mile has made great progress with their vision of a greener cityscape. Pavements have been widened, cobbles have replaced tar and the population of large trees and there is a vertical field of indigenous grasses and bulbs that covers the Keyes-facing wall of St Theresa’s School.
Anton Taljaard from Tomorrow said it was a living growing breathing experiment – much like a story unfolding.
"It will evolve over time, but it has already made a remarkable difference to the temperature of the west-facing classrooms, which bake in the afternoon sun," he said.